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Work starts on Embassy Court revamp

Major restoration work at Embassy Court, the long-neglected block of flats on Brighton seafront, is about to start.

The first stage of a planned £5 million refurbishment at the art deco building will begin when hoardings and scaffolding are installed next month.

Design guru Sir Terence Conran is working with residents on plans to restore the decaying building to its original glory.

Swimming pools, a restaurant, an art gallery and a museum have been suggested as possible improvements to the building which has become notorious after falling into disrepair.

The long-term vision for the 110ft-tall block is still being drawn up but residents hope next month's introductory work will improve life for tenants.

Large fan hoardings will be put up to protect against falling render and glass during the winter months.

The next priorities will be replacing the ineffective communal heating and electricity systems and installing new windows in every apartment.

Lobbies and corridors are being cleaned after years of legal disputes over who should pay for maintenance allowed them to become grimy and vandalised.

Many flats were taken over by absentee leaseholders during the Seventies and Eighties, leading to large rent backlogs and service charge arrears.

Bluestorm, a company formed by Embassy Court residents, finally won its David and Goliath-style battle with property developers last year to gain control of the block.

Leaseholders of the 104 flats will be asked to contribute to the restoration costs and will receive a presentation on the proposals early next month.

Bluestorm chairwoman Emma Jinks said: "The whole project is moving forward well.

"We have had a couple of very good meetings with the Conran team and Brighton and Hove City Council, who seem really positive.

"The hoardings should go up in the next couple of weeks but we won't start on the major repairs and services until after next spring because we will need to go for planning permission."

No start date has been set for the initial work. A three-year timescale has been predicted for the whole project.

Residents will be offered alternative accommodation when needed.

Embassy Court was designed by architect Wells Coates as Brighton's first skyscraper and featured penthouse apartments, a restaurant and a bank when built in 1935. Famous former residents included writer Keith Waterhouse, comedian Max Miller and film star Rex Harrison.

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